7 Tools to Relieve Stress and Feeling Better During the Day
I just returned from a networking breakfast with the South Shore Women’s Business Network. During one of the typical “What do you do?” conversations I had the opportunity to share a bit about my work. She asked me, “How do YOU cope with the stress of daily life?”
I can’t remember the last time someone asked me that question (maybe never!). I know I talk a lot about yoga, breathing and meditation as great tools, and that’s because I use them. I share below my 7 favorite coping tools for daily stress, overwhelming thoughts and those moments during the day when you just feel stuck.
FOR MY BODY
Yoga/stretch. Sometimes just one pose – Downward dog, neck stretch, or child’s pose – will do. And it takes less than five minutes. Similar to walking (see below) yoga gets me out of my head and using my body. That feels good.
A walk. Getting out of my head and into my body works wonders, even if I just walk around my house.
FOR MY MIND
Meditation. When my thoughts are like the ball in a tennis match moving back and forth over the net of “What to do next.” I know it’s time to just sit and focus on my breath. How long I sit depends on how much time I have. Any amount, 5, 10 or 20 minutes, will do just fine.
A nap. I didn’t start enjoying a power nap until I turned 35. Sometimes I literally need to drop everything, shut my eyes and sleep for 10 or 15 minutes. Though different from meditation (meditation is not sleep), I still enjoy an increase in creativity when I wake up. (I know people shut their office door and do this! I usually nap on Saturdays.)
FOR MY SPIRIT
Journal. Allowing my words to flow on paper knowing no one but me will read it is just what I need to feel better and gain some clarity. I get connected to me.
Fresh air. Enjoying some outside time makes me feel expansive. Sitting at a computer is contracting. I experienced this yesterday so I grabbed my coat, a book, a hot chocolate and headed to the beach. I spent a short fifteen minutes reading and enjoying the warmth of the sun on my face. Wow, that felt good after a long day (and long winter!) I get connected to something bigger than me.
Connections. Grabbing a glass of wine or a walk with my friends, family or husband and chatting about nothing in particular and laughing is some of the best stress relief I know. Connecting with other people helps me turn my attention to someone else, to help, provide care and simply connect on a personal level. We all need that to feel whole.
These are my favorites – they don’t cost a lot, are easily accessible and time-tested to work. How I’m feeling depends on what tool I choose. They all work well for me. You may not have a beach near by, but is there a park bench near your office you can head to for five minutes? Or maybe you take a slow walk around the block. Maybe you use your bathroom break to focus on your breath and exhale your tension.
Doesn’t have to be complicated to work. Taking care of you ensures you are healthy and have the energy to take care of others. And that definitely feels good!
How about you? What are your coping skills to manage the stress, chaos and overwhelm of your day?